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an unsent letter

May 21, 2016

Dear X,

Apparently there’s a condominium’s-worth of starlings raising their families in the eaves above our third floor apartment. Starlings are highly social birds: they squawk day and night, in their harsh, buzzing voices.

I wrote them into a poem, and now I mind them… less… than before, but Spouse can’t come to terms, and grouses.

(We’ve had noise issues with birds raising families overhead many times during our marriage. Usually songbirds, though, so their voices were at least pleasant. And they didn’t talk constantly: Only when they had something important to say.)

= = =

Apparently my brother-in-law is getting divorced. He helped break up his wife’s first marriage, but I guess her second marriage (to him) was a happy ending of sorts, which is perhaps why we were eventually told some of the messier details. I don’t understand any of my in-laws, and neither Spouse nor I are close to them, so I mourn that I’ll never know the real story. Stories are interesting; people’s everyday lives, or at least the ways they talk about them, generally are boring.

{Maybe that’s why I have trouble keeping friends?! I want stories and intense, nuanced emotions and Something Interesting Unfolding, but everyone else settles for ordinary and the Big 3 feelings and unmemorable? Food for thought.}

= = =

Last month, after puzzling intermittent pains in his joints, Spouse went to the doctor, who thought he might’ve contracted Lyme disease (for the 3rd time in 8 years). Spouse went through a course of antibiotics, but blood tests eventually showed he hadn’t had it, nor rheumatoid arthritis. (I’ve been wondering if Spouse is developing repetitive stress issues; I’ve had them since circa 2011.)

A week after all that, he developed bronchitis, and he’s been coughing and sniffling and sneezing ever since. He’s also worked from home a lot.

Between him and the birds, I am sorely missing my more-usual solitude and quiet.

= = =

I woke up with a migraine today. Usually, this time of year, it would be from the intense sunlight, but we’ve had a very wet May so far, so it’s actually from the barometric pressure related to the rain.

= = =

I assume your housing situation hasn’t resolved, or else surely I’d have heard from you, if only with your new address.

= = =

I’ve read 130 books this year.

= = =

I’m in an awkward spot with Thing: I greatly appreciate you facilitating it, as I couldn’t come up with any solutions on my own that I felt good about.

But if I ask you how it went, what Pandora’s Box will that be?

It’s not so much that “no news is good news”, since I rarely hear from you about anything. It’s more, I guess, that with family, for me, Good News… isn’t an available option.

Still, I’m so curious, you know?

= = =

See, this is why I don’t write more often.

Our worldviews rarely overlap. I definitely cannot assume that, if sides need to be taken, you’ll be on mine. Which makes asking you questions, about any other person(s), fraught with danger.

If only I could trust that a family member wouldn’t attack me (usually verbally) over a disagreement of opinion…

Even in self-defense, I will rarely attack someone.

Through therapy and reading books and a lot of hard work, I’ve learned how to handle interpersonal issues differently than I learned growing up. I see this growth as a strength, but in my branch of the family, it’s seen as weakness. I’m treated with contempt.

No one wants to claim affinity with me, but occasionally they seem to see affinities I supposedly share with third parties. Perhaps they intend something benign with this behavior, but to me, it feels like just another way to act as though I’m radioactive. Or an infectious disease.

= = =

I don’t know what’s going on in your life, so I can’t ask you about any of it.

= = =

Writing to your husband separately, to encourage him, and offer to talk about Thing We Share, was a bid to develop a separate relationship with him. To hear from you that “he appreciated it”, but not hear anything from him directly, tells me… nothing that I sought.

I should’ve learned by now that there are gatekeepers everywhere.

= = =

I became a writer by writing letters, to people who ignored me.

There must be better ways to connect to people who actually like me. I wonder what they are.

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